U.S. Senator Disrupts Summit in Washington, Saying Christians are Israel's Allyإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz was booed offstage at a conference for Middle Eastern Christians, causing a disruption at the gala dinner of the In Defense of Christians summit in the U.S. capital Washington.
“Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians... Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews. Tonight, we are all united in defense of people of good faith, who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare disagree with their religious teachings,” Cruz said on Wednesday eve.
He enraged audience when he pointed out that “Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” slamming religious extremism as “cancer.”
Cruz noted that Islamic groups like Palestinian Hamas movement, Hizbullah and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are carrying out “genocidal campaigns,” saying that the three groups are one.
The statement infuriated Lebanese Ambassador to the United States Antoine Chedid and Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham.
Laham was determined to withdraw from the gala dinner until Cruz left the room.
“Who kicked off Jews from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq?” Laham wondered, refusing to hear such words.
The audience started disagreeing with Cruz and booing him, calling on him to get off stage, which prompted him to say: “Those who hate Israel hate America. Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps.”
“If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason,” Cruz continued.
He criticized the audience, saying: “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you.”
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi called on conferees not to “reply to the Senator as the work of the conference is far more important than individual statements.”
For his part, the President of In Defense of Christians, Toufic Baaklini, lauded al-Rahi, quoting him as saying: “At every wedding, there are a few wedding crashers.”
“In this case, a few politically motivated opportunists chose to divide a room that for more than 48 hours sought unity in opposing the shared threat of genocide, faced not only by our Christian brothers and sisters, but our Jewish brothers and sisters and people of other all other faiths and all people of good will,” he said in a statement.
The three-day conference aims at discussing the situation in the Middle East and the conditions of Christians. It gathered Orthodox Christians, evangelicals, Roman Catholics and others.
The Middle East is the home for about 12 million Christians, which constitute around 5 percent of the region's population.